Banks v. St. James Parish School Board

Date Filed: 11/30/2016

On January 31, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman entered a consent order submitted by LDF on behalf of Black parents in Banks v. St. James Parish School Board, a school desegregation case. For months, LDF and local counsel, Gideon T. Carter, III, have worked with the St. James School Board and the U.S. Department of Justice to develop a new desegregation plan for the school system.  

The desegregation plan requires the District to:

  • Fully integrate its three historically Black schools
  • Offer students several new and innovative programs
  • Reform its overly punitive student discipline policies
  • Improve and equalize school facilities
  • Ensure racial diversity amongst teachers and professioanl staff
  • Promote students’ equal acces to extracurricular activities

LDF first filed Banks v. St. James Parish in 1965, 11 years after the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The case was successful in desegregating schools in the parish. However, three nearly all-Black schools remained. In response to the Black community’s continued concerns, and the 2016 decision by a charter academy to open an additional Black school, LDF was asked to negotiate a new consent decree.

Unfortunately, racial segregation remains a problem in many school systems across the country. Since Brown v. Board, LDF has been a leader in reducing racial disparities and racial isolation in education and advocating for the closing of achievement gaps. Today, LDF continues to advocate for equal educational opportunities for all students.